Akhilesh Singh | TNN | Apr 6, 2019, 03:16 ISTHighlightsThe party has already dropped 71 of its winners from the 2014 round and the casualties look set to riseBJP will contest 400 seats, leaving the rest for NDA constituentsNEW DELHI: Undeterred by the twin risks of rebellion and sabotage, BJP seems set to dump close to one-third of its sitting MPs. The party has already dropped 71 of its winners from the 2014 round and the casualties look set to rise because of the strong indication that a good number of incumbents in the 26 seats for which nominations remain to be finalised might also find themselves on the bench.
BJP will contest 400 seats, leaving the rest for NDA constituents. The replacement of 71 of those who rode the Modi wave to enter the Lok Sabha in 2014 will make it arguably the biggest exercise of its kind. Political parties have over the decades paid a heavy price for “local incumbency” or the unpopularity of their sitting lawmakers. Yet, they have fought shy of jettisoning the liabilities for fear of backlash from the discards and their patrons who influence the distribution of tickets.
BJP has decided to take the risk perhaps because its chief Amit Shah reckons that the popularity of PM Narendra Modi and the reinvigorated organisational machinery will supplant constituency-level mutinies by the disgruntled.
Conversely, the “boldness” also appears to reflect the recognition that the party may not be able to encash what it considers to be “high level of satisfaction” with the PM if it chooses to saddle itself with MPs who have become unpopular or whose success could be in doubt even for factors outside their control – such as the need to have a new ally like JD(U) in Bihar, placate an existing one like Shiv Sena.
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